What’s been happening to Truro, a pretty, provincial, rather pedestrian kind of place the last time I looked? Now not so much. It’s all brow bars and street food in shipping containers and slider joints and smoothies to go. We may have had to wait a while but the hipster revolution has made it to South Cornwall.
It’s always been one of the South West’s most beautiful cities, a prosperous river port in the 18th and 19th centuries lined with lovely old merchant’s townhouses and the vast Gothic Revival cathedral (v Gotham City) at its heart.
It’s easy to overlook the cathedral on a whirlwind tour of this city – call me a Philistine - but it’s worth checking out, not least for an insight into Victorian megalomania, no one had attempted to build a cathedral on this scale since medieval times and also for the spectacular (if a teensy bit garish) stained glass rose windows.
Lemon Street Gallery is always worth a look, a contemporary gallery showing mainly Cornish artists and often with surprisingly affordable works. Opposite you’ll find the Lemon Street Market home to wonderful Baker Tom for proper artisan bread and the Illustrated Living store f for Scandinavian glassware, ceramics and textiles. We also love Greenhouse which only sells products made from recycled or eco-friendly materials, a good pitstop for original, (very green) presents.
Really good vintage and general quirkiness at Enjoy (pictured below) in People’s Palace and Preloved Boutique in Pydar Street. A new boutique with cool but affordable labels is Magpie & Fox which opens next month.
The Royal Cornwall Museum is about to host a Kurt Jackson show (one of Cornwall’s best loved landscape artists) and has a permanent collection of fine art, photography and archaeology.
No 3 Brow and Lash Bar is a happy and surprising new addition in town, a Cowshed-esque salon with a couple of leather chairs and 2 seriously talented brow technicians. Come here for modernday waxing, tinting and threading.
For lunch The Old Grammar School a light and airy hangout in the centre of town always delivers – head here for the simple, quick fix homemade soup and a toastie or full blown slow cooked ox cheek with garlic confit mash. In the evenings it multi-tasks with cocktails, tapas and acoustic shows and the locals love it.
New in town is Sam’s in the City, another eaterie from the brilliant Sam’s, a family run chain of restaurants from husband and wife team Emma and Sam Sixton. Focusing exclusively on the best local Cornish produce, the new restaurant is decked out in floor to ceiling music and movie memorabilia and it looks pretty cool, some rock n roll edge for Truro. It also serves steaks, burgers and seafood and cocktails to blow your mind. Settle in, it’s so good here you won’t want to leave.
For flasher moments, also new in town and causing great excitement is the Falmouth Bay Seafood Café. Housed in a beautiful listed building overlooking the River Fal head chef Garrie Lawrence trained under Paul Ainsworth and prepares top knotch seafood in an open kitchen. Think oysters, soft shell crab, seafood risotto with crab, scallops, cod and mullet or dressed brown crab with buttered jersey royals. With a great wine list and good vibes, it has to be done. Burgers next – HUBBOX started life as a 20 seater restaurant in a converted shipping container but its handmade burgers, pulled pork sandwiches and the Hub Mack Daddy – think crispy mackerel, beetroot and horseradish mayo – were such a hit it has just relocated to a converted chapel. This is one for the kids.
Mustard & Rye is an American inspired restaurant serving high end burgers and sliders and classic milk shakes. At night you’ll find seriously good cocktails from the Pomegranate Cosmopolitan to the Firecracker (vanilla vodka and chilli). See what we mean abou the new happening vibe?
Our last street food tip is Kin on Newbridge Street serving Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian.
The Old Ale House is a guaranteed man-pleaser with craft ales and ciders plus a menu from River Cottage. And while we’re on the subject of beer monsters, don’t miss a tour round Skinner’s Brewery, where you can see a micro brewery at work and indulge in a pint afterwards.
You want to find the pulse of a city, you hang out with a resident night owl, in our case a self-confessed cocktail-lover with a direct line into the latest hotspots. On her recommendations we’ll be checking out the about-to-open vintage cocktail café Bone China ‘which she says ‘looks pretty darn cool’ while Vertigo (kickass drinks, live music and djs) and Night Jar are favourite places for an impromptu party. New gastro pub The Thomas Daniell mixes brilliant food with a serious element of Cornish quirkiness.